New geoscience research and data shows western Victoria may have deposits of copper, gold and other metals that could be the catalyst for a new wave of investment and jobs.
Minister for Resources Tim Pallas visited Ararat College today for a show and tell about the science used to determine what valuable minerals may lie beneath the surface of an area known geologically as the Stavely Arc.
The visit coincides with the release of new geoscience data and tenders for exploration in the Stavely precinct to attract new minerals exploration investment. If successful, exploration in this prospective area could bring a mining boom to western Victoria, and with it, hundreds of jobs.
Low impact minerals exploration activity such as sampling, surveys, mapping and analysis could start next year.
The tender process is aimed at attracting experienced minerals explorers, with credentials in community engagement and working closely with local landholders across the whole mining lifecycle.
The tender will include grant co-funding from the Andrews Labor Government’s $15 million TARGET Minerals Exploration Initiative, which has stimulated mineral discoveries since 2016.
Many regional towns in Victoria are thriving thanks to jobs in the minerals industry. Recent gold discoveries at Fosterville Gold Mine, which employs 445 people – eight out of 10 which live in the Greater Bendigo region – have been a boon for the Bendigo economy.
The Labor Government is improving the odds for would-be developers by providing high-quality geoscience data, TARGET grants and a focus on suitable areas for minerals exploration.
A new approach will see earlier and closer engagement with local communities to ensure that minerals exploration is balanced with other land uses. Minerals explorers can only access private property with the consent of a landholder or compensation agreement, and their activities are carefully regulated.
Minerals exploration could occur across up to 11 pre-defined blocks, covering a 9,500-square kilometre area stretching north from Hamilton, west from Ararat and that includes Horsham, Dimboola and Nhill.
National Parks including the Grampians, State Parks and wilderness areas are off limits. The tender also excludes coal and gas.
More details are available at earthresources.vic.gov.au/stavelygroundrelease.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Resources Tim Pallas
“We’re attracting minerals explorers with strong social values to invest in western Victoria and provide long-term, high-quality jobs in towns like Ararat and Stawell.”
“One day, students here may be working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics roles created by an increase in minerals exploration and development.”
“This release balances protecting the environment and landholder rights, with job creation and direct investment across western Victoria.”